Elon Musk Said to Ramp Up Purge of Engineers Over Alleged Criticism After Twitter Takeover

Elon Musk tweeted on Monday that he had fired Eric Frohnhoefer, an engineer who worked on Twitter’s app for the Android mobile operating system.

Elon Musk Said to Ramp Up Purge of Engineers Over Alleged Criticism After Twitter Takeover

Photo Credit: Reuters

Many Twitter workers remain upset that Musk fired half of the company’s 7,000-plus employees

Highlights
  • Elon Musk purchased Twitter to make it a destination for free speech
  • Engineer Ben Leib also fired job following publicly criticising Musk
  • Musk announced firing engineer Eric Frohnhoefer in a tweet

What began as the firing of two longtime Twitter engineers after they criticized their new boss has turned into a purge, as Elon Musk clamps down on internal and external dissent. In the past 24 hours, an estimated dozen or so employees have been let go after openly rebuking Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” according to two people familiar with the matter. Musk and Twitter haven't confirmed the firings, but employees have been monitoring the situation through public tweets and private messages.

In one case, Musk announced a firing in a tweet. Engineer Eric Frohnhoefer, who worked on Twitter's app for the Android mobile operating system, on Sunday reposted one of Musk's tweets with a comment, saying that Musk's understanding of a technical part of Twitter's app was “wrong.” Musk replied and asked Frohnhoefer to elaborate, before writing, “Twitter is super slow on Android. What have you done to fix that?”

After attempting to explain his thinking in a number of tweets, Frohnhoefer was asked by another user why he hadn't shared his feedback with his new boss privately. The engineer, who has worked at Twitter for more than eight years, replied, “maybe he should ask questions privately. Maybe use Slack or email.”

On Monday morning, Musk wrote that Frohnhoefer had been fired. Frohnhoefer retweeted that post, and included a saluting emoji that many employees used when they were laid off earlier this month. Twitter and Frohnhoefer didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on his status.

Another engineer, Ben Leib, also lost his job following a public posting critical of Musk. He commented on the same post about load times from Musk, writing, “As the former tech lead for timelines infrastructure at Twitter, I can confidently say that this man has no idea wtf he's talking about.” Leib, who worked at Twitter for a decade, confirmed to Bloomberg that he was fired on Sunday.

Sasha Solomon, a software engineer, posted Monday night that she was fired for a critical post. “I said it before and I'll say it again,” she tweeted. “Kiss my a-- elon.” Another engineer, Nick Morgan, tweeted a screenshot of the email sent from Twitter HR that said he was fired after his “recent behaviour violated company policy.”

“My Twitter account was protected at the time, so I can only assume this was for not showing 100 percent loyalty in Slack,' he tweeted, referring to Twitter's internal company communications. Morgan and Solomon could not be reached for comment.

Twitter has been thrown into chaos since Musk took over late last month. Many workers remain upset that Musk fired half of the company's 7,000-plus employees, including most of the senior managers, within about a week of his $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3.6 lakh crore) buyout.

The billionaire also rapidly changed the corporate culture. While it wasn't previously routine for employees to challenge leadership publicly at Twitter, workers often spoke out on internal Slack channels and by email before Musk showed up, sometimes posting criticism or concerns to the entire company.

Musk's changes have led to a lack of communication internally in terms of who is in charge and what the company's priorities are, current and former staffers say.

The moves have also led to concerns that San Francisco-based Twitter is vulnerable to product breakdowns or technical outages. On Monday, Twitter implemented another coding freeze, halting product updates to the app, and employees say they weren't given a clear reason why.

Part of Musk's motivation for purchasing Twitter was to loosen content restrictions, and make it a destination for “free speech” where people can say “outrageous” things. So far, employees say, that sentiment doesn't extend to his corporate policies.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.


Is the new expensive 10th generation iPad worth buying instead of its predecessor? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.
Comments

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Further reading: Elon Musk, Twitter
NASA Artemis I Moon Rocket Launched Days After Surviving Hurricane, Multiple Delays
Featured video of the day
iPad (10th Gen): Is It Worth The Upgrade?
Share on Facebook Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment google-newsGoogle News
 
 

Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement

© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2022. All rights reserved.